The Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5v22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

I think I’ve already made the main points to be made about these verses: firstly, that this list is clearly more attractive than the works of the flesh, so you will want to walk by the Spirit, and secondly, this is the fruit of the Spirit; you don’t produce these characteristics by putting yourself under the law, the Spirit produces them in you.

But it’s also worth looking at the fruit itself. And the first thing to notice is that it’s fruit (singular). Not “the fruits of the Spirit are…”, but “the fruit of the Spirit is…”. The Spirit doesn’t give us joy without faithfulness or peace without goodness.

There are characteristics similar to these that we all have in different measures, irrespective of the work of the Spirit, but the fruit that the Spirit produces in those who belong to Christ includes all of these things.

I found it helpful the way Tim Keller describes each aspect of the fruit, and its opposite, and its counterfeit (the version that people might possess whether they have the Spirit or not).

I think looking closer at each aspect of the fruit reinforces that these are desirable qualities – I want my life to be characterised by these things rather than the works of the flesh – and also that I can’t produce these things in myself by putting myself under the law; I need the Spirit.


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